Posts Tagged ‘home staging’

Let There Be Light: Enhance Your Home’s Look and Boost Its Resale Value with These Home Lighting Tips

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Let There Be Light: Enhance Your Home's Look and Boost Its Resale Value with These Home Lighting Tips | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re selling your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton region, it’s important to ensure that you make it look appealing to buyers. Increasing your home’s appeal will make buyers more likely to put down an offer – and can even boost the final selling price. Even something as simple as lighting can increase your home’s resale value. Take advantage of these lighting tips to make your home sale quick and profitable.

Outdoor Lighting: It’s All About Curb Appeal

Use outdoor lighting to enhance your home’s appearance and create an alluring atmosphere. Adding lighting to landscaped areas creates interesting contrasts of light and shadow that will catch your buyers’ eyes. You can add emphasis to landscaping by using uplighting for trees and shrubbery. Adding mood lighting to a patio area makes it appear more welcoming. Lighting dark areas of your property is also a good security measure, and it may prevent someone from slipping or falling. Individual solar lights can be installed along a walkway for safety and to improve the appearance of the property.

Entryway Lighting: First Impressions Count

The first impression anyone has of your home is when they walk through the front door. One of the easiest ways to increase the value of your home and add to its appeal is by making simple cosmetic changes to the interior. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give your home a fresh, new look. A chandelier in a large foyer makes a dramatic impression. It can be simple or elaborate, depending on your decor. An entryway table with a decorative lamp and soft lighting is also a nice touch.

Kitchen Lighting: Practicality is Key

Kitchens usually have plenty of overhead lighting, but not enough light for specific tasks like cutting or washing food. Direct lighting in specific areas makes it easier to see when preparing food, which makes your kitchen more functional. Fluorescent lighting is easy to install underneath kitchen cabinets, giving your kitchen the practical lighting it needs.

Ceiling Fans: Lighting With Style

Ceiling fans with installed light fixtures can be placed in any room and are easy to install. The vast array of styles makes it easy to find ceiling fans that complement your home’s decor. Not only do they provide more light, but they also increase the airflow through your home.

Lighting Living Spaces: Use Full Spectrum Bulbs for a Richer Environment

The living room or family room is where families spend a lot of their leisure time. Overhead lighting is a good choice for entertaining, but if you want an atmosphere that’s more relaxing, you can use lamps containing full spectrum bulbs. Full spectrum light bulbs are bulbs that mimic the appearance of natural light. Dimmer switches in the living areas are perfect for times when a lot of light isn’t necessary. When selling your home, show it off to its advantage by taking advantage of natural light, especially if you have a nice view.

Lighting for Dark Areas: Soft Lights Add Nuance

If you don’t already have them, install dimmer switches in your bedrooms to achieve a comforting, relaxing appearance. Use soft lighting in bedside lamps. Softer lights can make dark areas of your home feel more cozy and inviting. You can buy decorative night lights to add atmosphere to a darkened hallway.

The proper lighting has the ability to transform any living space and make it more appealing. With the right lighting in every room, you can make your home more appealing to buyers – and you might even sell it for a higher price.

I am always available to answer questions you may have about enhancing the resale value of your home.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Selling Your House in the Fall

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Selling Your House in the Fall | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamFall time is beautiful in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region.  Late summer flowers are in full bloom, the leaves are turning orange, yellow and red, and the air smells crisp and clean.  There’s nothing quite like the bright blue sky and brilliant Alberta sunshine in the fall.  But having your home on the market as the days get shorter and the nights cooler comes with a certain set of challenges.

  • Those beautiful leaves don’t stay on the trees and as they fall, they can make your yard look unkempt and messy.  Small quantities of leaves can often be dealt with by using a mulching lawnmower or a leaf blower.  But if you have mature trees on your property, the best way to keep your yard looking good during the autumn months is to flex your muscles and rake the leaves.  This does more than make your yard look tidy.  Removing mats and debris from the lawn’s surface helps the lawn to “breathe” and sets it up for the winter months.  You’ll also want to clean up plants that have finished their summer life cycle:  cut back dead foliage, prune the raspberry canes and so on.  If you have plants in pots, bring them up onto your porch to provide a little color and curb appeal.  Or use some of that garden produce to arrange an artistic grouping of squash, pumpkins, ears of corn and the like.
  • As the light fades and the sun sinks lower in the sky, you need to let in as much natural light as possible.  Uncover your windows as completely as you can.  Open the curtains as wide as possible.  Pull up the blinds as high as they’ll go.  Vacuum accumulated dust, leaves and tree fuzz from window screens, and wash windows inside and out so they sparkle.
  • Light up your house for showings.  Turn on every light and lamp in your home, especially for late afternoon and evening showings, or on gloomy days.  The more light, the larger and more welcoming rooms will seem.  Consider buying a few inexpensive lamps to add to tables or corners, especially in rooms that have only overhead light fixtures.
  • Cozy it up.   There’s a reason professional home stagers use strategically placed and brightly colored throws plus mountains of pillows when they decorate a home!  In the fall, add even more appeal and warmth by choosing items with interesting textures that invite touch:  a big fluffy blanket draped over the couch, roughly textured pillows in an armchair, etc.
  • Fill your home with the scents of autumn.  You probably already know that the smell of your home is a strong influence on buyer interest or distaste.  Start with a super-clean house but also use the warm and comforting smells of autumn to hook in those buyers!  The aroma of freshly baked spicy cookies or apple pie can’t be beat.  If you can’t arrange that before a showing, here is a good alternative.  Boil water with cinnamon, cloves and orange peel for about half an hour sometime during the day of a showing.

Want more tips for selling your home?  I’m happy to help.  Please call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.


Leaner, Cleaner — and Sold!

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Leaner, Cleaner -- and Sold! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSome time ago I had a house listed in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region whose owners were enthusiastic antique collectors.  Every room in their home was filled with furniture, knick-knacks and treasures from multiple eras and design influences.  Nothing really matched, nor was there a unifying theme tying things together.  The overall effect was of too much miscellaneous stuff crammed into too little space.  This is exactly the impression a seller does not want to give a potential buyer! 

Getting this place sold needed the removal of large numbers of objects so as to showcase the space rather than the possessions in the space.  Items not removed were those essential for daily living that were both nice to look at and anonymous.  Many sellers learn the hard way that living in a home is very different from selling a house, and items cherished by the sellers may actually deter potential buyers from making an offer.

Ask yourself what you are selling.  If it’s the house and not the stuff in it, how can you show off the house to its best advantage?  You can do this by staging your home to make it look as spacious, clean, tidy and organized, fresh and up-to-date, attractive and functional as possible.  Did I mention spacious?!

Please read my other articles on home staging:  Home Staging Starts with De-cluttering”  and “Be Your Own Home Stager”  Let’s assume that you’ve already thrown away the trash, sold or given away unneeded or unwanted items, and packed up stuff you’re not currently using (e.g. winter equipment and clothing if it’s summer) but which you’ll be taking with you when you leave your current home.  What else needs to go before you put your home on the market? 

“Identity” items: 

  • All items with your name on them:  utility bills, diplomas, certificates and awards, sports jerseys, personal documents such as passports, medications, etc.
  • All family pictures
  • All collections:  spoons, ball caps, dolls, model cars, sports memorabilia, coins, cookbooks, DVDs, etc., as well as valuables such as jewelry.
  • All ethnic, cultural and religious items
  • All evidence of hunting:  guns, clothing, stuffed game, antlers, etc.
  • All work-related items, such as computer or office-related binders, books and manuals, cords, CDs, phone books, etc.
  •  Any items that might distract or offend potential buyers, such as smoking materials, pet paraphernalia, lewd artwork and the like

Stuff in general: 

  • Dated and dusty decorative items, such as old dried flower arrangements
  • All broken items, and things you’ve been “saving”
  • All excess furniture and accessories in every room.  Don’t forget outbuildings and outdoor spaces as well.  Keep just the essentials, and set up each room or space according to its intended purpose.  This may mean turning an office back into a bedroom while your home is on the market.
  • All extra items from porches, decks and entryways (such as loose pieces of carpet, boot racks and the like), and all items from stairwells and hallways.
  • Large appliances, like a freezer or extra fridge, that won’t be sold with the house
  • All items off window ledges, and open the window coverings
  • All old paint, chemicals and hazardous waste, as well as renovation and building materials that are not relevant to the house’s current upgrades

Tips for Specific areas



  • Remove everything.  Replace just a few display items, leaving lots of space between them:  some hardcover books with attractive covers, a couple of unusual knick-knacks, neutral photos such as landscapes, small plants


  • Remove about 75% of closet contents, keeping just the items you absolutely have to have while your home is on the market!  Leave as much space between items on hangers as possible, and clear closet shelves and floors as much as possible.  Arrange everything neatly.

Other storage spaces:

  • Stockpiles of everything have to go from basement storage areas, garage, storage shed and the like.  Keep only the items you need to maintain yourself and the home while it is on the market.  For example, if it’s summer, you’ll need lawn mowing and gardening tools but not winter items like snow shovels and brushes.  Pack up the tools, hobby items, sports gear, etc.

Kids’ rooms:

  • Remove all but your children’s favorite toys, clothing they will be wearing on a day to day basis, and necessary equipment (e.g. changing table and related items for infants).
  • Remove all stickers and posters from walls and doors


  • All items off the tops of cabinets and the fridge, including magnets, children’s artwork, calendars, etc.
  • Everything off kitchen counters except bare necessities, such as coffee pot, kettle and toaster.
  • Purge plastic container collection.
  • Pack up all extra cookware, dishes, utensils, specialty items you won’t be using while your home is on the market.
  • Reduce stored food items as much as possible so that cupboards and pantry appear as spacious as possible.
  • Knives off counters and stored under a cabinet (for safety).
  • Clean out all cabinets and drawers and replace only the essentials in a tidy and organized fashion.


  • Out with all old and half-used toiletries.
  • Bare minimum of personal care products, in attractive containers, if possible.  However, do NOT leave out in view things like razors, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, medications and the like.
  • Reduce quantity of cleaning products to just what needs to be used on a daily basis.
  • Clear out cabinets; put back only essential items.

Laundry area:

  • Clear off all shelves and leave only items you have to have.  Nothing on the floor!

Home exterior:


During this process, you’ll probably come to realize that:

  • Potential buyers will be looking everywhere in your home.
  • It will take time and energy to repair, clean, de-clutter, de-personalize and stage your home so it looks spotless, spacious and inviting.
  • You may have to rent space in a storage facility to store your belongings.
  • It’s going to be a little painful to have to camp in your own home for the period of time before your home is sold and you move out completely.

But I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you:

  • The focus will no longer be on the home you’ve created and your stuff, but the space, the flooring, upgrades, fresh paint, the yard, and all the other features that buyers are looking for.
  • By clearing out the clutter and packing up as much as possible before your home goes on the market, you will have much less to do when it comes time to move to your new home.
  • Your home WILL sell faster and it WILL earn you more money – in some cases, 1000s of dollars more.
  • You may even find that you can get along just fine without so much stuff!

Remember the phrase from the movie Field of Dreams “Build it and they will come”?  Stage your house so it becomes a Home of Dreams and the buyers will come!

Comments or questions about this article?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.



Selling Your Home When You Have Pets

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Selling Your Home When You Have Pets | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLife in our Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton-area homes just wouldn’t be the same without our four-legged companions.  But, even though 6 out of 10 Canadian homes have a dog or cat in residence, we have to pretend those family members never existed when it’s time to sell our homes!  In fact, having a pet in the home (or at least evidence of one) may even lower the price buyers are willing to pay for your home or make it harder to sell.

Why is this?  

Remember that buyers need to be able to visualize themselves as occupants of your home.  The physical presence of an animal along with its furnishings and equipment can start people thinking about all the negative effects of pets in the house (even if they are pet owners themselves):  animal hair, skin and bodily functions, damage to property from teeth and nails, germs!!  What’s more, encountering your pet unexpectedly could frighten potential buyers away from even viewing your home.

What can be done?

  • While it’s inconvenient for you and disruptive for your pet, the best solution during the time your home is on the market is to relocate your pet.  Lodge it with a friend or neighbor, or board it at a kennel.  If this isn’t possible, then you’ll need to always take your pet with you when you vacate your home for showings.  Leaving it in the garage or backyard might seem like a good compromise but not if you are after the best sale of your home.
  • You’ll also need to clear out all signs that an animal lives in your home.  This means packing up cat litter boxes and bags of litter or puppy training pads, pet toys and leashes, pet food, bowls and feeders, pet cages, carriers and bedding.  Remove any photos of your pet.
  • Mega-cleaning!  Special effort may be needed to remove pet stains from carpet and pet odors from the air.  Enzyme cleaners and lots of elbow grease and fresh air will help.  Consider hiring professional carpet cleaners, furnace duct cleaning companies and the like.  Don’t rely on air fresheners and deodorizers as these will only make people wonder what you are trying to cover up.

Your pet-proof and “pet-friendly” home (see my blog article “Your Pet-Friendly Home ) has both positive and negative aspects when it’s time to sell.  On the one hand, if your home is carpet-free, furnished with easy to clean materials, and so on, you may not have to do too much extra in the cleaning department.  On the other hand, if you have made any pet-accommodating modifications to your home, such as doggie doors, cat ramps (special stairs up the wall), window sill platforms, or outdoor dog and cat runs, you may have to reverse these.  You might think that special additions to your home to accommodate pets would be a selling feature for other pet owners, and this might be true in some cases.  But it’s always better to try to appeal to the largest number of potential buyers possible.  That means presenting your home in as neutral a fashion as you can.

It is possible to sell your home quickly and for a good price even with a pet in residence.  As with most things connected with real estate sales, it just takes a little work and preparation!

Please also visit my Pinterest board “Pets and Your Home”.

What else could sellers with pets do to entice buyers?  Let me know what you think!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.


Be Your Own Home Stager

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Be Your Own Home Stager |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThe phrase “Dress for Success” has a different meaning in real estate than it does in other businesses.  You know that before you put your Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, Parkland County or Edmonton area home on the market, it’s important to clean it thoroughly, get rid of clutter, and make minor repairs.  But these days, in order to sell your home in the shortest amount of time and for the best price, that’s not going far enough.  The next step is home staging.

What is home staging?

Home staging is literally setting a scene and creating a mood – transforming an ordinary house into an attractive, welcoming home that any potential buyer might envision himself living in.   The key is universal appeal.

Secrets of home staging

Home staging doesn’t mean erasing all evidence of the people living in the house, but it’s important to remember that how you live in your home and how you sell your home are two very different things

Differences show up in the number and type of things on display, the size of furniture and how it’s arranged, and in the general state of cleanliness and tidiness.  This is one situation where “good enough” probably isn’t!  A perfectly staged home is going to resemble more a suite in a 4-star hotel – before a guest unpacks! – than the homes most of us grew up in or currently live in.  With that in mind, here are a few things to know about home staging.

Update.  The simplest and least costly upgrades, besides paint, include light fixtures, taps and faucets, door and cabinet hardware, switches and switch plates, and drapery and window treatments.

Be Your Own Home Stager |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam Neutralize.  Neutral colors for walls and floor coverings are best.  People must be able to visualize themselves and their own possessions in the home so the decorating must serve only as a backdrop.  Neutralize also means keeping things generic:  “middle-of-the-road” décor, furnishings and accessories.

Clean.  Really, really clean; mother-in-law clean; brand-new-home clean….!

Edit People must be able to see the space, not the stuff in the space.  Corners must be visible, rooms must appear to be open and airy, closets need to look spacious and unfilled, and so on.  This may mean that typical home sellers have to dispose of or pack up for off-site storage 30% to 80% of their possessions.  For example, your kitchen counter should be as close to cleared off as you can make it, with maybe just a coffee maker and toaster to suggest its functionality.  In the bathroom, remove all personal care items, cosmetics and the like from the counter, leaving perhaps just a fresh container of liquid soap next to the sink.  And so on.  Tip Take a photo of a room in your house.  Chances are the “too much” factor will be more evident in a picture.

Depersonalize:  Small numbers of family photos, personal memorabilia and items connected to hobbies are fine.  What isn’t fine is anything that detracts from a potential buyer seeing himself in the space.  People don’t want to look at your toothbrush or razor in the bathroom, dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, or piles of clothing on the laundry room floor, for example.  In other words, the place must not look used.

Tidy:  Whatever items are left after possessions have been edited need to be arranged as neatly as possible.  This means not only things readily visible but also everything in closets, drawers, cabinets and other storage spaces in every area of the house, including the garage and outdoors.   As always, the point is to make spaces appear as roomy and functional as possible.

 SensBe Your Own Home Stager |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twyname it.  I’ve heard that 75% of the buyer’s decision is affected by the first 5 seconds through the front door.  Sight and smell are going to be the most important senses in that first impression, and their impact is instantaneous.  Never underestimate the effect of the sight and smell of fresh flowers!

 Light it.  Remember that home staging is about creating a mood.  Warm and bright will sell your home.

Suggest.  Of all the “secrets” of home staging, this is the most important.  Suggest a feeling of hominess and coziness by arranging a few pieces of furniture, such as a pair of modest loveseats and a couple of smallish tables and lamps, in an appealing vignette which will make the buyer want to be a part of it.  Add some accessories such as colorful cushions, a throw in a soft fabric, a couple of classic books or a tea service or a potted plant on a side table with a lamp turned on.  Keep the number and size of items small to trick the eye into maximizing the proportions of the room.  The phrase “less is more” is the very essence of home staging, employing subtlety, simplicity, refinement and classic design.  Everything in a space is there to highlight the best features of the space.  Tip Visit a store like Ikea and study the room vignettes.  These are perfect examples of home staging.

Be Your Own Home Stager |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAccessorize.  Besides basic furniture appropriate to a given room, professional home stagers add a variety of accessories to hint at feelings or activities associated with that space.  For example:

  • in the kitchen: a large bowl of fresh, colorful fruit; an open cookbook; a new matched set of tea towels and oven mitts
  • in the bathroom: new clean towels tied with ribbons on the side of the tub; a spa basket of scented soaps and lotions on the counter; a small tray of scented candles
  • in the bedroom: new bedcovering and extra pillows; a simple swag of fabric draped above the windows; a small ottoman with an afghan throw; small bedside tables with lamps turned on
  • in the living room: mirrors; potted plants or silk flowers; area and throw rugs; a display of unusual knickknacks in a grouping of 1, 3 or 5 items
  • on the patio or deck: a small patio table and a pair of chairs, with perhaps a potted plant on the table, to suggest a conversational grouping

While all of this may seem like a lot of work, most sellers who take the trouble to stage their homes really do see a better price within a shorter time frame.

 Ready to sell your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton-area home?  Contact me here, email me at, or phone me at 780-910-9669.

Thinking of Selling Your Home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County?

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Thinking of Selling Your Home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County? |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSo it’s time to sell your Spruce Grove home or Stony Plain real estate in Parkland County.

You should do well considering the unprecedented property appreciation in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County area over the last few years.

When getting ready to sell, there are things you need to think about. When in a buyer’s market, you need to be the best priced and best home for the money on the market. Your home needs to show well which means clutter free and well kept.

Most home buyers are already over committed and may not be looking for a home that needs major repairs or improvements upon moving (not counting having the money available to do repairs, especially first time home buyers). Take a look at your home as if you were in the market to buy. The following are a few ideas and hints to help you maximize the amount of money you can get for your home.

How does your home look from the street?

That is where prospective buyers will be when they first look at your home and form that all important first impression. Try some of the following:

  • remove clutter from your yard;
  • consider buying some potted plants to make your yard more eye appealing. Mow your lawn regularly. Pick up after your pets;
  • clean your windows and siding;
  • ensure your eaves are clear and in good repair;
  • do any necessary painting, staining and sealing;
  • do your outside lights work, replace any burnt out bulbs;
  • do you have wood trim around your house, paint or stain if required;

Now let’s go indoors.

You want a buyer to see a neat, clean, well lit interior. Get clutter out of sight (you never want a house to feel smaller than it is). Ensure carpets are clean and floors are scrubbed and polished and that walls and baseboards show clean and bright. Make sure lights work and are free of cobwebs. You want your home to look spacious, bright and fresh.

  • check stairs for loose boards, ripped carpeting, missing or loose handrails;
  • ensure doors open and shut properly;
  • make sure closets look spacious and organized;
  • keep furniture to a minimum so that rooms do not appear smaller than they are.

Thinking of Selling Your Home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County? |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamTake a sniff. Are there any unpleasant odors in your home? If so track them down and eliminate them.

If you have a lot of family memorabilia, consider thinning it out or start packing it.  Remember, you are moving. You want prospective buyers to see themselves living in your home. That mental picture becomes more difficult for them if your house resembles a shrine to you and your family.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

Two of the most important rooms in the home are kitchens and bathrooms.

  • clean all appliances, including your oven. Clean or replace your greasy stove hood filters.
  • clean your cabinets inside and out, as well as your backsplash. Repair leaking faucets.
  • remove items stored on countertops. Remove excess items stored under your sink.
  • remove anything stored on top of your refrigerator;
  • remove artwork and magnets from your refrigerator;
  • in bathrooms, scrub sinks, tubs and toilets;
  • clean mirrors, light switch plates;


Your basement should be clean and not cluttered. If your basement is damp or musty consider a dehumidifier. Check the grading around your house. If the grade slopes toward the house you may want to look at adding a clay based fill to encourage water to drain away from the house. Check your downspouts and ensure they are moving water well away from your home. Most water problems in a basement are due to poor drainage. Change the filter to your furnace. If you have cats ensure the litter box is clean before all showings.


Make sure you attend to the garage as well. It should also be clutter free. Get rid of old car parts, discarded bicycles, empty paint cans and the hundreds of useless items that accumulate in garages.

Show Time

Now it is time to show your home. You will need a plan of action that assigns duties to each family member so that your house can be quickly ready for showing.

  1. open all drapes, blinds and turn on lights to make the house bright;
  2. air out the house to get rid of any odors from cooking, pets, etc;
  3. pick up clutter and empty garbage;
  4. make everything as clean as possible;
  5. set your thermostat at a comfortable level;
  6. try to remove pets from the house;
  7. leave when your house is being shown;
  8. display photos of house in summer if your house is being shown in winter months;
  9. leave out heating and electric bills;

We all have busy lives and don’t normally live as the above would suggest. But when selling, the above suggestions have proven successful in helping sell homes quicker and for more money. You may not be able to accomplish all of the above suggestions, but if you do, you will realize thousands of dollars more for your effort.

Property to sell?  I’d love to help.  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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